The Last First Day!

When we were very young, Mother greeted us with warm cookies as we arrived home after the first day of school. Sister and I were still brimming with energy, even after a long day of school work and new routine. Fresh cookies were the perfect invitation to sit for a bit and share together pieces of our day apart from one another. I remember the sweet memory of feeling full.

Not just full from Mother’s delicious cookies.

Full of joy. Full of happiness. Full of love.

It has been many years since my own children were little. They too were welcomed home with a plate of warm cookies after those delightful first days. They recall the excitement of our simple tradition and the joy of sharing. They too were filled.

Filled with conversation. Filled with laughter. Filled with love.

There was plenty of time.

Today our youngest began his first day of his last year of high school. The last little one all grown up. The moment is already a memory.

And that time for the simplest joys? Where has it gone?

He’s looking ahead now. He’s preparing to move on. He’s not always in a hurry to come home and share his day.

But today, this last first day, I’ll have this plate of cookies waiting.

An invitation.

Come home.

Let’s sit for a bit.

Let’s share some time.

Let’s be filled.

Cookies_112145-1

Peanut Butter 1-1-1 Cookies

Mix 1 egg, 1 cup peanut butter,  and 1 cup sugar together. Use a small cookie scoop to drop dough onto a baking pan. Press with a fork. Bake 8-10 minutes at 350. Cool and Enjoy!

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Please Share the Caprese!

One of my favorite summer flavors is sweet basil. Every year I explore new ways to freshen up a dish with this sweet wonder to enjoy with my family, or friends, or both!

20150718_142439-1As you can see, my basil patch is just starting to shoot up. It has been an unusually wet summer in Kansas. The excessive rainfall and flooding has wreaked havoc on my garden! I am delighted to see the basil has survived and is starting to thrive.

Just in time, actually! I thinned the young plants recently and prepared a delicious caprese pasta salad to share with my Monday night ladies’ Bible study group. Several of the ladies asked for the recipe, so here it is!

pasta_120811I started with 2 cups of cooked pasta. My children always loved the bow tie variety when they were littles, so I kept with that nostalgia. After draining the excess water, I coated the pasta lightly with olive oil and stirred in a bit of salt and pepper. Next, I prepared a creamy dressing, stirring together about 3/4 cup of mayonnaise and a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. You can use more or less of either ingredient to your own liking. I then stirred the dressing and pasta together and let it chill in the fridge while I prepared the key caprese ingredients: basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella!

sun-dried_121351I love to use fresh cherry tomato halves for this salad, but my tomato plants have struggled through this soggy Kansas season. I opted instead for a handful of tangy sun-dried tomatoes. These are handy to have in your pantry for quick substitutes. I just slivered them up and they were ready to go in the dish!

basil_120533I picked a handful of young basil to thin out my row in the garden and allow the other plants to grow bigger. These young plants are still packed with great flavor and I never let them go to waste. I tore the leaves into smaller pieces for this salad.

mozz_121933Of course fresh and creamy mozzarella is a must! I like to chop mine a little chunky. I folded the tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella into the pasta salad and packed it for the church potluck.

The flavors had plenty of time to blend as we greeted each other with fellowship and prayer. This caprese pasta salad tasted delicious alongside other summer favorites, but could also stand alone as a quick and easy summer meal. Enjoy!